Is Hamas becoming a legitimate player?
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images For all of its past rhetoric on Hamas, Israel may be bending just a bit. The BBC reports today that a truce has been reached between Israeli officials and representatives of Hamas in Egypt. While Israel appears to be treading lightly, reaching a ceasefire agreement with Hamas — the militant group that ...
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images
For all of its past rhetoric on Hamas, Israel may be bending just a bit. The BBC reports today that a truce has been reached between Israeli officials and representatives of Hamas in Egypt. While Israel appears to be treading lightly, reaching a ceasefire agreement with Hamas — the militant group that controls the Gaza strip and is believed to be responsible for rocket attacks against Israeli citizens — is a big step.
This deal, set to take effect on Thursday, is not exactly an anomaly in Israel’s recent relations with traditional enemies. A prisoner-exchange agreement with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group, has apparently been brokered and may occur as early as next week. Israel and Syria agreed today to hold additional talks in July, mediated by Turkey.
The most interesting question now is how Washington will react. Bush is unlikely to change his tune at this late stage on a group he considers a terrorist threat, though he tacitly agreed to let Egypt broker this new agreement. But a President McCain or a President Obama might make a different calculation. It’s hard to see how a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached without Hamas, as the group has held a majority in the democratically elected Palestinian parliament for two years. Can the United States really facilitate a peace deal between the people of Israel and Palestine without inviting the officials that the latter have voted into office?
And of course, how can Hamas negotiate with an entity that it doesn’t even recognize? It seems like a lot of players must change their views for peace to have a chance.
More from Foreign Policy
America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose
Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.
The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy
The reality of fighting Hamas in Gaza makes this war terrible one way or another.
Biden Owns the Israel-Palestine Conflict Now
In tying Washington to Israel’s war in Gaza, the U.S. president now shares responsibility for the broader conflict’s fate.
Taiwan’s Room to Maneuver Shrinks as Biden and Xi Meet
As the latest crisis in the straits wraps up, Taipei is on the back foot.